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Engineers and architects strive to achieve extremely stable equilibriums for buildings and other systems that must withstand wind, earthquakes, and other forces that displace them from equilibrium. Although the examples in this section emphasize gravitational forces, the basic conditions for equilibrium are the same for all types of forces. The net external force must be zero, and the net torque must also be zero.

Take-home experiment

Stand straight with your heels, back, and head against a wall. Bend forward from your waist, keeping your heels and bottom against the wall, to touch your toes. Can you do this without toppling over? Explain why and what you need to do to be able to touch your toes without losing your balance. Is it easier for a woman to do this?

Section summary

  • A system is said to be in stable equilibrium if, when displaced from equilibrium, it experiences a net force or torque in a direction opposite the direction of the displacement.
  • A system is in unstable equilibrium if, when displaced from equilibrium, it experiences a net force or torque in the same direction as the displacement from equilibrium.
  • A system is in neutral equilibrium if its equilibrium is independent of displacements from its original position.

Conceptual questions

A round pencil lying on its side as in [link] is in neutral equilibrium relative to displacements perpendicular to its length. What is its stability relative to displacements parallel to its length?

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Explain the need for tall towers on a suspension bridge to ensure stable equilibrium.

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Suppose a horse leans against a wall as in [link] . Calculate the force exerted on the wall assuming that force is horizontal while using the data in the schematic representation of the situation. Note that the force exerted on the wall is equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to the force exerted on the horse, keeping it in equilibrium. The total mass of the horse and rider is 500 kg. Take the data to be accurate to three digits.

In part a, a horse is standing next to a wall with its legs crossed. A sleepy-looking rider is leaning against the wall. Part b is a drawing of the same horse from a rear view, but this time with no rider.  The horse is crossing its rear legs, and its rump is leaning against the wall. The reaction of the wall F is acting on the horse at a height one point two meters above the ground. The weight of the horse is acting at its center of gravity near the base of the tail. The center of gravity is one point four meters above the ground. The line of action of weight is zero point three five meters away from the feet of the horse.

F wall = 1.43 × 10 3 N size 12{F rSub { size 8{"wall"} } =1 cdot "43"` times `"10" rSup { size 8{3} } `N} {}

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Two children of mass 20.0 kg and 30.0 kg sit balanced on a seesaw with the pivot point located at the center of the seesaw. If the children are separated by a distance of 3.00 m, at what distance from the pivot point is the small child sitting in order to maintain the balance?

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(a) Calculate the magnitude and direction of the force on each foot of the horse in [link] (two are on the ground), assuming the center of mass of the horse is midway between the feet. The total mass of the horse and rider is 500kg. (b) What is the minimum coefficient of friction between the hooves and ground? Note that the force exerted by the wall is horizontal.

a) 2.55 ×10 3 N, 16.3º to the left of vertical (i.e., toward the wall) size 12{θ} {}

b) 0.292

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A person carries a plank of wood 2.00 m long with one hand pushing down on it at one end with a force F 1 size 12{F rSub { size 8{1} } } {} and the other hand holding it up at .500 m from the end of the plank with force F 2 size 12{F rSub { size 8{2} } } {} . If the plank has a mass of 20.0 kg and its center of gravity is at the middle of the plank, what are the magnitudes of the forces F 1 and F 2 size 12{F rSub { size 8{2} } } {} ?

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A 17.0-m-high and 11.0-m-long wall under construction and its bracing are shown in [link] . The wall is in stable equilibrium without the bracing but can pivot at its base. Calculate the force exerted by each of the 10 braces if a strong wind exerts a horizontal force of 650 N on each square meter of the wall. Assume that the net force from the wind acts at a height halfway up the wall and that all braces exert equal forces parallel to their lengths. Neglect the thickness of the wall.

A seventeen meter high wall is standing on the ground with ten braces to support it. At the base of the figure a brown colored ground is visible. Only one brace is visible from a side. A brace makes an angle of thirty five degree with the wall. The point of contact of the brace is eight point five meters high. You have to find the force exerted by this brace on the wall to support.

F B = 2.12 × 10 4 N size 12{F rSub { size 8{B} } =2 cdot "12" times "10" rSup { size 8{4} } `N} {}

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(a) What force must be exerted by the wind to support a 2.50-kg chicken in the position shown in [link] ? (b) What is the ratio of this force to the chicken’s weight? (c) Does this support the contention that the chicken has a relatively stable construction?

A chicken is trying to balance on its left foot, which is 9 point zero centimeters to the right of the chicken. The force of the wind is blowing from the left toward the chicken’s center of gravity c g, which is 20 cm above the ground. The weight of the chicken w is acting at the center of gravity.
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Suppose the weight of the drawbridge in [link] is supported entirely by its hinges and the opposite shore, so that its cables are slack. (a) What fraction of the weight is supported by the opposite shore if the point of support is directly beneath the cable attachments? (b) What is the direction and magnitude of the force the hinges exert on the bridge under these circumstances? The mass of the bridge is 2500 kg.

A small drawbridge is shown. There is one vertical and one horizontal wooden plank. The left end of the horizontal plank is attached to the vertical plank near its middle. At the point of contact, a hinge is shown. A wire is tied to the right end of the horizontal end, is passed over the top of the vertical plank and is connected to a pulley. The angle made by the wire with the horizontal plank is forty degrees. The reaction F at the hinge is inclined at an angle theta.
A small drawbridge, showing the forces on the hinges ( F size 12{F} {} ), its weight ( w size 12{w} {} ), and the tension in its wires ( T size 12{T} {} ).

a) 0.167, or about one-sixth of the weight is supported by the opposite shore.

b) F = 2 . 0 × 10 4 N size 12{F=2 "." 0 times "10" rSup { size 8{4} } N} {} , straight up.

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Suppose a 900-kg car is on the bridge in [link] with its center of mass halfway between the hinges and the cable attachments. (The bridge is supported by the cables and hinges only.) (a) Find the force in the cables. (b) Find the direction and magnitude of the force exerted by the hinges on the bridge.

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A sandwich board advertising sign is constructed as shown in [link] . The sign’s mass is 8.00 kg. (a) Calculate the tension in the chain assuming no friction between the legs and the sidewalk. (b) What force is exerted by each side on the hinge?

A sandwich board advertising sign is in form of a triangle. The base of the triangle is one point one zero meters. The other two sides are connected with a hinge at the top. A horizontal chain is connected to the two legs at zero point five zero meters below the hinge. The height of the hinge above the base is one point three zero meters. The centers of the gravity of the two legs are shown at their midpoints. The figure is labeled at uniform board with c g at the center.
A sandwich board advertising sign demonstrates tension.

a) 21.6 N

b) 21.6 N

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(a) What minimum coefficient of friction is needed between the legs and the ground to keep the sign in [link] in the position shown if the chain breaks? (b) What force is exerted by each side on the hinge?

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A gymnast is attempting to perform splits. From the information given in [link] , calculate the magnitude and direction of the force exerted on each foot by the floor.

A gymnast with two pompoms in her hands is shown. One of the hand is horizontal toward left and the other is vertical. The gymnast is attempting to perform a full split. The span of her legs is one point eight meters, and the distance of one foot from the center of gravity is zero point nine meters. The weight of the girl is labeled as seven hundred newtons. The vertical distance of one foot from the center of gravity is zero point three zero meter.
A gymnast performs full split. The center of gravity and the various distances from it are shown.

350 N directly upwards

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Questions & Answers

but why is the cyclist relative with the canal .
Emmanuel Reply
It is more difficult to obtain a high-resolution ultrasound image in the abdominal region of someone who is overweight than for someone who has a slight build. Explain why this statement is accurate.
Lanii Reply
What is the frictional forc e between two bodies
Kennedy Reply
it is the force which always opposes the motion of the body
why is the force that oppose motion sir
what is a wave
Williams Reply
wave means. A field of study
what are Atoms
is the movement back and front or up and down
how ?
wave is a disturbance that transfers energy through matter or space with little or no associated mass.
A wave is a motion of particles in disturbed medium that carry energy from one midium to another
an atom is the smallest unit( particle) of an element that bares it's chemical properties
what is electromagnetic induction?
what's boy's law
wave is disturbance that travel through a medium ..maybe in vacuum
How is the de Broglie wavelength of electrons related to the quantization of their orbits in atoms and molecules?
Larissa Reply
How do you convert 0.0045kgcm³ to the si unit?
how many state of matter do we really have like I mean... is there any newly discovered state of matter?
Falana Reply
I only know 5: •Solids •Liquids •Gases •Plasma •Bose-Einstein condensate
Alright Thank you
Which one is the Bose-Einstein
can you explain what plasma and the I her one you mentioned
u can say sun or stars are just the state of plasma
but the are more than seven
list it out I wanna know
what the meaning of continuum
Akhigbe Reply
What state of matter is fire
Thapelo Reply
fire is not in any state of matter...fire is rather a form of energy produced from an oxidising reaction.
Isn`t fire the plasma state of matter?
all this while I taught it was plasma
How can you define time?
Thapelo Reply
Time can be defined as a continuous , dynamic , irreversible , unpredictable quantity .
unpredictable? but I can say after one o'clock its going to be two o'clock predictably!
how can we define vector
I would define it as having a magnitude (size)with a direction. An example I can think of is a car traveling at 50m/s (magnitude) going North (direction)
as for me guys u would say time is quantity that measures how long it takes for a specific condition to happen e.g how long it takes for the day to end or how it takes for the travelling car to cover a km.
what is the relativity of physics
Paul Reply
How do you convert 0.0045kgcm³ to the si unit?
What is the formula for motion
Anthony Reply
V=u+at V²=u²-2as
they are eqns of linear motion
v=u+at s=ut+at^\2 v^=u^+2as where ^=2
Explain dopplers effect
Jennifer Reply
Not yet learnt
Explain motion with types
Acceleration is the change in velocity over time. Given this information, is acceleration a vector or a scalar quantity? Explain.
Alabi Reply
Scalar quantity Because acceleration has only magnitude
acleration is vectr quatity it is found in a spefied direction and it is product of displcemnt
its a scalar quantity
velocity is speed and direction. since velocity is a part of acceleration that makes acceleration a vector quantity. an example of this is centripetal acceleration. when you're moving in a circular patter at a constant speed, you are still accelerating because your direction is constantly changing.
acceleration is a vector quantity. As explained by Josh Thompson, even in circular motion, bodies undergoing circular motion only accelerate because on the constantly changing direction of their constant speed. also retardation and acceleration are differentiated by virtue of their direction in
respect to prevailing force
What is the difference between impulse and momentum?
Momentum is the product of the mass of a body and the change in velocity of its motion. ie P=m(v-u)/t (SI unit is kgm/s). it is literally the impact of collision from a moving body. While Impulse is the product of momentum and time. I = Pt (SI unit is kgm) or it is literally the change in momentum
Or I = m(v-u)
the tendency of a body to maintain it's inertia motion is called momentum( I believe you know what inertia means) so for a body to be in momentum it will be really hard to stop such body or object..... this is where impulse comes in.. the force applied to stop the momentum of such body is impulse..
Calculation of kinetic and potential energy
dion Reply
K.e=mv² P.e=mgh
K is actually 1/2 mv^2
what impulse is given to an a-particle of mass 6.7*10^-27 kg if it is ejected from a stationary nucleus at a speed of 3.2*10^-6ms²? what average force is needed if it is ejected in approximately 10^-8 s?
speed=velocity÷time velocity=speed×time=3.2×10^-6×10^-8=32×10^-14m/s impulse [I]=∆momentum[P]=mass×velocity=6.7×10^-27×32×10^-14=214.4×10^-41kg/ms force=impulse÷time=214.4×10^-41÷10^-8=214.4×10^-33N. dats how I solved it.if wrong pls correct me.
Practice Key Terms 3

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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